Cadillac Takes The Super Bowl Commercial Trophy with Chipotle and Indeed as Runner’s Up, Uber Eats, Klarna Fail
Each year the stakes rise, business input vast amounts of money and time into cultivating the best Super Bowl commercial. Every business has one goal, to create an unforgettable advertisement that drives sales. From influencer marketing to brand awareness, and emotional ads, each one serves its purpose, with the hope being that the Monday after the game, conversation about the ads begin to take place and one brand has won the “people” game.
Monday, February 8, I launched the USA Today website on my computer and re-watched every Super Bowl Commercial. I also conducted a peer survey with 100+ students, attempting to understand what teenagers thought of the Super Bowl ads, and how companies could improve their marketing.
I’m all about efficiency so here’s what I’m going to discuss today.
- The Age of Celebrity Marketing + It’s Impact on Super Bowl Ads
- My Top 3 Advertisements + Why (Bonus Section: Honorable Mentions)
- The 2 Worst Super Bowl Advertisements
- Strategies For All Agencies to Follow Next Year
The Age of Celebrity Marketing + It’s Impact on Super Bowl Ads
Will Ferrell, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Drake, Nick Jonas, etc. The list is endless. It seemed as if every single advertisement in the Super Bowl featured a blue-chip celebrity. My biggest question after watching was, did these companies break even or generate more revenue?
Automakers like Jeep and Toyota gained a 93% and 18% spike, respectfully, after the airing of their Super Bowl ads. Yet companies like Oatly left viewers questioning the legitimacy and image of the brand but they managed to gain a wild return on their investment. After spending $5 million, the are eyeing a $10 billion IPO. So does a celebrity figure lead to an increase in revenue? The answer is, yes. But my a marginal amount. A study by USA Today stated that endorsements increase a company’s sales by an average of 4%.
While 4% isn’t a huge number, it’s important to understand the other external factors that generate unaccounted revenue. Simple marketing items like ad recall and brand awareness play an indirect role on buyer behavior. Prior to the kickoff of Super Bowl LV, I heard viewers discussing Will Ferrell’s ad spot and after the game, viewers were tweeting about T-Mobile’s ad and Dexcom’s attempt to leverage the likes of Nick Jonas in their commercial. Any increase in sales is a good one and depending on the celebrity it might even bring more unique consumers and help a companies reputation.
From my standpoint, I think it depends on the integrity of the ad, meaning I want to be sure that the celebrity endorsing the product is an active user. Nick Jonas went public with his diabetes in 2007 and promoted Dexcom in 2021. Based on the history and the integrity appeal of the advertisement, it was a 10/10 in my books.
My Top 3 Advertisements + Why
At Number 1, I had the Cadillac ad.
The message of the ad correlates well with Cadillac’s brand image. We know Cadillac as a luxurious, dedicated car brand that puts emphasis on craftsmanship and manufacturing. The ad with Edward Scissor-Hands demonstrated the technology and innovation that Cadillac brings to the car industry as well. We had the chance to see Edward try out a Virtual Reality headset and test out the self-driving feature on the car. Every detailed seemed to culminate in the perfect way to introduce their new car.
I was also impressed by the secondary message of the ad. Edward is perceived as an outlier in society. He gets into trouble at the restaurant, isn’t allowed on the bus, gets his hand stuck in a rail, etc. He finally discovers what he’s able to do with a car and the audience has the chance to see his face light up when he presses the autonomous drive mode button in the car. The subtle messaging behinds this ad is incredibly relatable to people around the world who have disabilities or feel alienated and Cadillac found a way to hint at inclusion and their new vehicle in one ad spot.
At Number 2, I had the Chipotle ad.
There were several positive characteristics in this ad that culminated in a one minute experience. From the uplifting music to the videos demonstrating the chance Chipotle is talking about to outro of the ad (How we grow our food is how we grow our future). And the best part of the entire ad was the kid.
Personally I thought the kid represented the voice behind Generation Z, a generation known for being pragmatic and attacking problems rather than simply talking about them. Every statement represented something that Chipotle was doing or was going to begin doing and it gave the consumer base something more to believe in besides a burrito.
Chipotle came under fire a couple years ago for the e.coli that was present in their product. Since that event Chipotle has completely changed their brand image, revolutionizing how products are made and the service that comes with their name. All of their advertisements demonstrate the positive change that Chipotle is making and this ad was simply the epitome of their efforts.
At Number 3, I had the Indeed ad.
This ad could’ve easily been at #1 or #2. The indeed tagline was able to reach multiple markets, the background music, and the people displayed in the ad were inspiring. I thought the diversity of backgrounds and people in the ad was on full display as well and was a profound way to cap off the ad.
This ad stood out to me since it was timely and relatable. Jobless rates continue to increase and their ability to reach every demographic in one ad was incredible. The final part of the ad gives the audience something to hustle and work for — that feeling of relief after you’ve landed the perfect job.
- Dexcom G6. Bringing in a celebrity who battles with Type 1 Diabetes coupled with the innovative technology that the app entails was a great way to increase their brand awareness and develop a stable, positive brand image.
- guaranteedRate’s creative marketing strategy brought in a tandem of celebrities accomplishing their life goals and the ability for their software to empower yours. They found a way to integrate their motto as well which complemented the rest of the content well.
- Squarespace. The beginning of the ad pictures the consistent feeling amongst all 9–5 workers in the United States. Squarespace altered the discourse around what it means to have a sidehustle and the choreography and jingle represented the vivacious feeling people have when they aren’t working and have their own hustle. Everything wrapped together well in this ad.
The 2 Worst Super Bowl Advertisements
Klarna was the second to worst ad.
The approach to the ad was subpar and they didn’t explain why four payments were need or give context about the app to the viewers that were unaware of what Klarna is.
The quadrupled effect on the celebrity depicted in the ad was abnormal as well. I think Klarna would’ve had more success through demonstrating a customer experience with the persona they are trying to target. As a viewer, I would’ve understood what their product did and whether or not I could use it.
Uber Eats had the worst Super Bowl ad, in my opinion.
I thought the message of the ad was spectacular, motivating people to buy local and support small business owners. Everything else was mediocre. From the music to the manipulation tactics and bringing in Cardi B, the advertisement didn’t make sense or promote exactly what Uber Eats does. I think Uber Eats could’ve had more success with a strategy similar to Indeed. Demonstrating how small restaurant owners could leverage the app to increase their sales and reach more people with delivering their meals would’ve been more effective.
Strategies For All Agencies to Follow Next Year
- Generate a criteria for what you want your ad to do. Convert leads, generate brand awareness, make an impression on viewers, etc. I think too many brands are assuming what consumers are going to do as opposed to digging deep and understanding the intention behind the advertisement.
- Be consistent. How does the advertisement promoted relate back to the business as a whole? If I read the about us section of the business, does the ad relate to that or are they different. This year, I saw some brands do this well and other fail to do so at all. Consistency is key and when the stage is this big, create something that aligns with everything you do.
- Embody context awareness. Cadillac, Chipotle, and Indeed nailed this. Cadillac’s ad related to outliers in our society and introduced a new way of driving. They also tapped into the evolution of the climate crisis with their electric vehicle. Chipotle knew the backlash they had received in the past and the fragile brand reputation their company had five years ago. This ad was another reason why consumers should continue trusting them and purchase their products. Indeed helps everyone get jobs. In a world where people are losing their jobs, they took the most unconventional approach and it generated success.
- If you’re going to go the celebrity marketing route, I would like to see them actually utilize the product. Nick Jonas was a great example of this. Does Will Ferrell actually drive a car manufactured by GM? Does John Cena habitually drink Mountain Dew? Does Adam Levine use T-Mobile. While these might seem like micro things, they’re important. These celebrities are going to be attached to the brand moving forward and if they aren’t users of your product there is a detrimental dealignment between the endorsers and the brand.